Download your FREE Business Idea Starter Kit to get your business started NOW:
I’m often asked which tools I use in my business:
How did I build my website?
How do I make my launching soon page?
Where do I get my ‘iPad’ graphics from?
So I decided it’s high time to answer all this questions in one shot.
Here are the online business tools I use to run my online business.
They aren’t the only ones available by any means but they’re the ones I use, know and love.
I choose tools that help me run my business more efficiently and save me time and money.
Some of them are free.
Some of them aren’t.
I think they’re all pretty rad.
A couple of the links are affiliate links so if you also wanted to use them we’ll be helping each other when you sign up!
So here goes… it’s a long one:
Build A Website That Gives You Control And Flexibility
My website is build on the platform wordpress.org.
I consider this to be the best platform to build your website on because you own all your content and have total control over the set up.
There are other platforms that make the design process easier but I prefer having full control over my website.
Actually, I am a total website geek and I spend my free time hacking on my website.
Now the truth is out there.
When you use wordpress.org you need to install a theme.
I did A LOT of research and decided to go with Headway.
Headway is a theme framework, which for all intents and purposes means it’s a much more flexible option than just a theme.
There’s pretty much nothing you can’t do with it. Woo hoo.
As awesome as that sounds it also means there is a lot of configuration to get your head around.
It’s a bit of a learning curve but once you get used to it, it’s pretty darn awesome being able to change whatever you want on your site.
And the best part?
It’s more or less drag, drop, choose your options.
After some initial swearing and help requests in the support forum I now love it.
As flexible as Headway is sometimes I just want to knock up a page really fast.
This is where I use Leadpages.
Leadpages has a raft of high converting templates.
You can literally plugin your graphics and text and away you go.
A 1 minute landing page is all yours.
I use this for all my squeeze pages:
Like this one.
My launching soon page way back then.
And my 404 page (the page you get when you ask for a page that doesn’t exist on my site).
Basically any page that needs great conversion rate or in my case, where I see there’s a Leadpages template for it, so I decide to save myself some time.
3 Tools To Create Amazing Images And Graphics
Canva is fab for creating quick graphics and if you use your own elements, like your photos or screenshots from your website, it’s free.
I use Pixlr, which is another freebie, to create the graphics in my newsletters as they have a great collage option.
Boxshot King is my go-to tool to make my iPad/eBook images.
You can create the cover yourself in the program or you can upload your own images and it will put the image in an iPad/computer screen/book/cd/anything you want basically.
It’s a little clunky but it’s cheaper than paying someone to do it for you and the results look pretty rad.
I love the way it makes my Business Idea Starter Kit look in the iPad frame.
Set Up An Easy System To Collect Payments
For payments I use… wait for it… wait for it… Paypal.
I toyed with the idea of sending invoices and getting bank transfers to save fees but this makes everything more complicated and Paypal can handle multiple currencies.
So for now, until I get credit card processing, Paypal it is.
Manage Your Calendar
There are many great calendars out there.
For the moment though I’m sticking with Time Trade.
It’s very simple and it seems to handle the time differences better than other calendars.
I’m in Australia and I often see clients on my Thursday and their Wednesday, so it’s very important to me that my calendar knows what day it is for who.
Skype is where it’s at for me.
As I have clients all over the world it just makes it easier to use one technology even though I theoretically could just call the Aussies on an actual phone.
I’ve tried a few options and it just came out best.
I have a separate Internet connection set up so that if suddenly someone starts using YouTube at the other end of the house, the call doesn’t just die.
I’m like the Internet Queen of the house with my premium connection.
Take that visitors and other Internet users in my house. (Usually it’s just my boyfriend, the dog hasn’t figured out the whole Internet thing yet).
I use Aweber.
At the beginning it was a toss between Aweber and Mailchimp.
I chose Aweber as it has more advanced statistics and greater functionality.
So far I’ve been happy.
Mailchimp does have the advantage of being free under a certain list size, and many people continue to be really happy with it, bit I wanted the pro features out of the gate.
Track Those Stats – Google Analytics
I use the industry standard free Google Analytics to track everything on my website.
As soon as you have a website you should get yourself a code from Google and install the analytics plugin.
You can only track from when you install it so put it in as soon as you can.
Then you get to actually find out what people are doing on your website.
If I’m sharing files with clients and they’re too big for email I use Dropbox.
If we both need to edit a file, for example, we’re working on copy, I use Google docs.
You both can be editing at the same time in Google docs AND see what the other one is doing, which is pretty amazing.
I keep everything I want to be able to find again later in The Brain.
Not my brain – The Brain. ;-)
If I try and keep it in my own brain, I can’t be 100% sure I’ll be able to find it again.
I’ve been using this software for years and I love it.
Not only is it incredibly useful, it also looks cool.
I used it at my corporate job but now it’s become a reliable software tool I use to help run my business.
Whenever anyone came over to ask me a question I didn’t immediately know the answer to I would say, “Hold on a minute while I check my brain…”
Then I would start clicking through the interface, through my “thoughts”.
The basic version is free and that’s generally all you need.
You know a lot more when you have two brains I find.
This was number 5 in the 6 part blog series – How To Start A Side Business
Here is the complete series:
1. why starting a side business may be the secret to your success.
2. 5 qualities you must cultivate to be a successful entrepreneur.
3. the single most important skill you need to run a side business.
4. why YOU are the weakest link in your business (and what to do about it).
5. the tools I use to run my online business.
6. starting your own business: not as hard as you think!
Now I’d like to hear from you…
Which online business tools are your go-to solutions?
Have you had any experience with the tools I’m using?
Let me know in the comments below.